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- Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps, Western Europe, and the European Union.
- It is also sometimes known as La Dame blanche (French for “the White Lady”) or Il Bianco (Italian for “the White One”).
- The mountain lies in a range called the Graian Alps, between the regions of Aosta Valley, Italy, and Haute-Savoie, France.
- The location of the summit is on the watershed line between the valleys of Ferret and Veny in Italy and the valleys of Montjoie Valley and Arve Valley in France.
- The Mont Blanc massif is popular for mountaineering, hiking, skiing, and snowboarding.
- The three towns and their communes which surround Mont Blanc are Courmayeur in Aosta Valley, Italy, and both Saint-Gervais-les-Bains and Chamonix in Haute-Savoie, France — the latter being the site of the first Winter Olympics.
- This climb, initiated by Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, who gave a reward for the successful ascent, traditionally marks the start of modern mountaineering.
- Now the summit is ascended by an average 20,000 mountaineer-tourists each year and could be considered an easy, yet long, ascent for someone who is well trained and used to the altitude.
- While seeming deceptively close, La Voie des 3 Monts route (known to be more technical and challenging than other more commonly used routes) requires much ascent and descent before the final section of the climb is reached and the last 1000m push to the summit is undertaken.
- Every year the Mont Blanc massif takes many victims, however, and in peak weekends (normally around August) the local rescue service flies an average of 12 missions, mostly directed towards people in trouble on one of the normal routes of the mountain.
- Previously, the entire mountain had formed part of the Duchy of Savoy and since 1723 of the Kingdom of Sardinia, one of the pre-unitarian Italian states.
- This act is even more confusing, because it states that the border should be visible from the town of Chamonix and Courmayeur.
- In 1891, Pierre Janssen, an astronomer and the director of the Meudon astrophysical observatory, envisaged the construction of an observatory at the summit of Mont Blanc.
- The mountain was the scene of two fatal air crashes of Air India Flight 245 in 1950 and Air India Flight 101 in 1966.
- No exact and permanent summit elevation can therefore be determined, though accurate measurements have been made on specific dates.
- The ascent then begins in the direction of the Refuge de Tête Rousse and then through the Goûter Corridor, considered dangerous because of frequent rock-falls, leading to Goûter cabin for night shelter.
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